Reaction to WikiLeaks documents

Massive trove of confidential US diplomatic cables obtained by WikLeaks draws a variety of responses.

Assange said the leaks will amount to a “diplomatic history” of global affairs. 

Several major media organisations have published detailed reports on a massive trove of leaked US diplomatic cables.

The files address negative perceptions of various world leaders, repeated calls for US attack on Iran, and requests for US diplomats to spy on other countries’ officials.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has said the release of the classified documents by the whistle-blower website will amount to a “diplomatic history” of global affairs.

The leaks, so far,  have drawn different reactions from mainly the western world.

Robert Gibbs,White House spokesman                                                    

Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said the leaks will pose a serious risk to security interests, as the Pentagon described them as “reckless and dangerous”.

“These cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders, and when the substance of private conversations is printed on the front pages of newspapers across the world, it can deeply impact not only US foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and
friends around the world.”

“Such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.”

Roger Cressey, former US cyber security and counterterrorism official

This is pretty devastating. The essence of our foreign policy is our ability to talk straight and honest with our foreign counterparts and to keep those conversations out of the public domain. This massive leak puts that most basic of diplomatic requirements at risk in the future.

Think of relations with Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Afghanistan, governments who we need to work with us in defeating al-Qaeda. Their performance has been uneven in the past, for a variety of reasons, but this kind of leak will seriously hinder our ability to persuade these governments to support our counterterrorism priorities in the future.

Whoever was behind this leak should be shot and I would volunteer to pull the trigger.

Peter King, New York congressman

WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States. I strongly urge you to work within the Administration to use every offensive capability of the US government to prevent further damaging releases by WikiLeaks.”

David Mack, former US ambassador to the United Arab Emirates

I think is is very damaging … if you think about it, a lot of the damage is being done by the revelations of very successful diplomatic activities that aim at avoiding war, that aim at protecting lives, lives of both Americans and lives of the other governments we’re dealing with.

And the revelation of these diplomatic discussions is going to make that process a lot harder. It’s going to cause some serious damage to US bilateral relations that we rely upon to meet our national security objectives.

Christopher Meyer, former British envoy to US

This won’t restrain diplomats’ candour. But people will be looking at the security of electronic communication and archives. Paper would have been impossible to steal in these quantities.

United Nations statement on the released cables

The UN is not in a position to comment on the authenticity of the document purporting to request information-gathering activities on UN officials and activities. The UN is by its very nature a transparent organisation that makes a great deal of information about its activities available to the public and member states.

UN officials regularly meet representatives of member states to brief them on UN activities. The UN relies on the adherence by member states to these various undertakings.

Michael Cox, fellow at Chatham House, a UK think tank

It’s a great treasure trove for historians and students of international relations. It is a sign that in the information age, it is very difficult to keep anything secret. But as to whether it’s going to cause the kind of seismic collapse of international relations that governments have been talking about, I somehow doubt.

Diplomats have always said rude things about each other in private, and everyone has always known that. Governments have a tendency to try to keep as much information as possible secret or classified, whether it really needs to be or not. The really secret information, I would suggest, is still pretty safe and probably won’t end up on WikiLeaks.

Lawrence Cannon, Canadian foreign minister                        

Irresponsible leaks like these are deplorable and do not serve anybody’s national interests. The perpetrators of these leaks may threaten our national security.

John Key, News Zealand prime minister                                                

We don’t know all the details of them but there’s bound to be one or two comments in there that might lead to embarrassment at the most, but nothing more serious than that. At a very high level, there’s been a broad indication of one or two of them… nothing too serious.

It’s very important to understand that every embassy and every high commission around the world plays a role in gathering information as best they understand it and reporting back to the mother ship, if you like. And there’s always a bit of colour and artistic licence about that.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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